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April 12th, 2014
“Doctor, heal thyself” is an advice that many medical professionals just seem to ignore, in their desire to provide the best possible care for their patients. Recognizing this syndrome, the Australian Medical Association has come up with a position paper that reinforces the need for doctors and medical students to look after their own health, thus enabling them to consistently provide high-quality health care.
“In order to deliver high-quality health care to their patients and the community, and to experience medicine as a rewarding and satisfying career, doctors need to be well. Research has consistently shown that doctors with healthy personal lifestyle habits are more likely to impart healthy behaviours to their patients.1”
Despite their status as healers of the sick, doctors are humans, after all, and are as vulnerable to diseases and work-related accidents as everyone else. For this reason doctors need the right insurance that can give them adequate coverage in cases of incapacitation and sickness.
Medical Levy Surcharge (MLS)
MLS is collected from “payers of Australian tax who do not have private hospital cover and who earn above a certain income. The surcharge aims to encourage individuals to take out private hospital cover, and where possible, to use the private system to reduce the demand on the public Medicare system.”
Doctors typically would fall under the higher income bracket; thus there are just a handful of situations that would exempt them from Medicare levy surcharge. Singles should have an income under $88,000, while couples or families should have a total income of $176,000. It is therefore important for doctors to invest on the right private health insurance coverage to avoid hefty Medicare levies.
When doctors get sick or injured from such work related incidents as needle stick injuries, bone dust inhalation, or even work-acquired HIV, their capacity to earn can greatly diminish. In some cases, this can render years of studies and training practically without value. Unfortunately, the nature of a doctor’s work and income is such that a regular life insurance policy may not be sufficient to cover the specific nature of their incapacitation or loss of income. What is needed is a comprehensive income protection for doctors that will give these professionals and their families adequate financial protection.
Finding the right insurance policy for doctors is not an easy job, and these physicians could easily fall into the trap of settling for a standard life insurance policy. Medical finance specialists, like those at MEDIQ Financial Services, can help find excellent income protection insurance for doctors. These financial professionals have trained and laboured to identify the specific financial needs of doctors in order to address these needs as appropriately as possible.
(Source: Health and wellbeing of doctors and medical students – 2011, Australian Medical Association)